Quilting without frontiers at Flowerfield

FLOWERFIELD Arts Centre welcomes a colourful and exciting exhibition from Thursday (August 30), that celebrates quilt-making from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

On show at the Portstewart arts centre until September 29, ‘Spirit of the Celts’ is a cross-border exhibition that embraces the themes of myths, legends and cultural history.

The idea for a cross-border exhibition with quilt makers from Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland came after the Festival of Quilts 2007, when the three Celtic nations won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively in the Group Competition.

Margaret Woodside of Loose Thread Quiters came up with the idea. Working with Turning Point from Scotland and Cwilt Cymru from Wales, they combined to make ‘Spirit of the Celts’.

To give the exhibition physical cohesion all the quilts are 45 inches high and between 24 and 36 inches wide. Technique and colour, however, was left totally to each individual quilter.

The exhibition has been shown in Birmingham, Scotland, and now in Northern Ireland, before travelling to Wales. This offers a unique opportunity to see the work of 26 artists from across these two islands demonstrating this craft from within a modern idiom.

Many of the pieces were inspired by the rich inheritance of legends and beliefs – the power of the rowan tree and the Celtic head, the Celtic lunar calendar, the children of Lir, Lough Erne, St Patrick, fairy worlds, Tir n’a Nog, Finn McCool the Mabinogion’s Branwen, mermaids, kelpies, sea-monsters and warrior queens.

Five pieces refer to the enigmatic Celtic carved standing stones and later Celtic crosses; others refer to historical events such as Viking raids, the oldest Welsh poem and Owain Glyndwr’s uprising; and some to surviving artefacts such as the St Ninian hoard, the Trawsfynydd tankard and other buried treasures.

This unique project shows that quilters scattered across different nations can work together and achieve a fabulous result. The exhibition will be on show at Flowerfield from September 8 to 29, in the galleries. Admission is absolutely free, and the galleries are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

For more details, get in touch with Flowerfield Arts Centre on (028) 7083 1400.